The 9.3-mile Blue Line Extension will open Friday, March 16, CATS announced this week.
The first extension of the LYNX light rail system since the original Blue Line opened in 2007 continues the route from 7th Street Station in Uptown to UNC Charlotte’s campus.
It’s a monumental addition to Charlotte’s public transit system and will bring with it tremendous change for surrounding neighborhoods.
If you were around to see South End before the light rail rolled through, you understand the development that’s coming — for better or worse — to Optimist Park, NoDa, University City and other neighborhoods along the new route.
So to celebrate what’s already there (and to give you an excuse to hop on a train when the extension opens in a couple months), I rounded up existing businesses that are about to find themselves within walking distance of one of the 11 new light rail stations.
9th Street Station
Located on E. 9th Street between N. College and N. Brevard Streets
Subsecreto – 325 E. 9th Street – The offbeat craft coffee bar and retail shop maintains an air of mystery with quirky books and gifts, snake membership pins and a secret bookshelf “portal” to another room. Get a shot of espresso in an edible cookie cup.
First Ward Park – 301 E. 7th Street – The 4.6-acre, light rail-adjacent park is equipped with outdoor fitness equipment and a sprayground.
McColl Center for Art + Innovation – 721 N. Tryon Street – The nationally acclaimed contemporary art center in a historic neo-Gothic church houses 9 resident artist studios and 5,000 square feet of gallery space. Free admission.
Waterbean Coffee – 616 N. Tryon Street – Local coffee shop with a lovely skyline view from the front patio.
Sports One – 521 N. College Street – The sleek sports bar and lounge is owned by Peter Thomas of Real Housewives of Atlanta fame.
Located at the corner of Parkwood Avenue and N. Brevard Street
Tompkins Hall (coming soon) – 340 E. 16th Street – The $40 million project will turn an old textile mill into a 135,000-square-foot retail, restaurant and office space that includes a 20,000-square-foot multi-vendor food hall.
Abari Game Bar – 1721 N. Davidson Street – The grown up game bar features classic arcades, pinball machines and video game consoles.
25th Street Station
Located at the corner of N. Brevard Street and E. 25th Street
Amelie’s French Bakery – 2424 N. Davidson Street – The French bakery’s flagship location is open 24/7/365. Try their famous salted caramel brownie, a Charlotte classic.
36th Street Station
Located on E. 36th Street near the corner of Cullman Avenue
This stop puts you in the heart of NoDa, a thriving arts district with too many points of interest to list. Check out a more thorough directory of all the restaurants, shops, music venus, galleries and more on the NoDa neighborhood website.
These are a few Agenda favorites:
Neighborhood Theater – 511 E. 36th Street – Live performance venue in an old 1940s-era movie theater
NoDa Company Store – 3221 Yadkin Avenue – Neighborhood hang out with a great back patio. Daily sangria specials, featured food trucks and rotating artwork.
Haberdish – 3106 N. Davidson Street – Trendy southern restaurant with a killer cocktail program
Crepe Cellar – 3116 N. Davidson Street – Cozy European-style gastropub
Evening Muse – 3227 N. Davidson Street – Casual acoustic music venue
Growlers Pourhouse – 3120 N. Davidson Street – Serious craft beer joint with a beer-centric food menu
Smelly Cat Coffee – 514 E. 36th Street – Coffee shop and roastery
Reigning Doughnuts – 3120 N. Davidson Street – Walk-up doughnut window in a former storage closet behind Growlers
Salud Beer Shop / Fud at Salud – 3306 N. Davidson Street – Combo bottle shop and casual food counter serving unique wafflewiches and waffle cones filled with everything from spaghetti to pulled pork and pimento cheese.
Heist Brewery – 2909 N. Davidson Street – (Also very close to 25th Street Station)
Benny Pennello’s – 2909 N. Davidson Street – Known for monster pizza slices the size of your head. Open late. (Also very close to 25th Street Station)
Brooks’ Sandwich House – 2710 N. Brevard Street – This walk-up burger window has been a Charlotte favorite for more than 40 years. It’s a cash only operation with one long communal table outside. Get your burger “all the way” with homemade chili, mustard and onions. (Also very close to 25th Street Station)
Sugar Creek Station
Located at the corner of E. Sugar Creek Road and Raleigh Street [*Park & Ride lot*]
Zoewee’s – 4112 N. Tryon Street – Traditional Liberian restaurant
Crown Station Coffee House – 3629 N. Davidson Street – Coffee house and pub with regular comedy performances, live music and open mic nights (formerly located in Elizabeth)
Old Concord Road Station
Located at N. Tryon Street and Old Concord Road [*Park & Ride lot*]
The Last Word – 5744 N. Tryon Street – Buy, sell and trade used books and media at this sprawling store.
Tom Hunter Station
Located at the corner of N. Tryon Street and Tom Hunter Road
South 21 Jr. – 6920 N. Tryon Street – Classic American diner serving Charlotte since 1955.
University City Boulevard Station
Located at the corner of N. Tryon Street and Stetson Drive [*Park & Ride garage*]
IKEA – 8300 IKEA Boulevard – Sorry.
Located at the corner of N. Tryon Street and McCullough Drive
University City Regional Library – 301 E. WT Harris Boulevard – 24,500-square-foot community library
Le Kebab Mediterranean Grill – 350 E. McCullough Drive – Middle Eastern restaurant
Banh Mi Brothers – 230 E. WT Harris Boulevard – Vietnamese sandwich shop with over-the-top loaded fries
JW Clay Boulevard Station
Located at the corner of N. Tryon Street and JW Clay Boulevard [*Park & Ride garage*]
Ninety’s Ice Cream & Sandwiches – 9009 JM Keynes Drive – Family-run ice cream and sandwich shop with creative novelty treats like cookie dough pops and macaron ice cream sandwiches
Dave’s Paddleboats – 8933 JM Keynes Drive – Paddleboat rental at the Shoppes at University Place
Paradise Valley Par 3 – 110 Barton Creek Road – 18-hole public course plus a family-friendly mini golf course
Lazeez Mediterranean Grill – 9311 JW Clay Boulevard – Family-run Middle Eastern restaurant
UNC Charlotte Station
Located on Cameron Boulevard on the north side of campus
UNC Charlotte – 9201 University City Boulevard – Home of the 49ers and 29,000 students